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Minerva Endocrinologica 2015 September;40(3):213-30

language: English

Vitamin D and cardiometabolic risk factors and diseases

Mousa A. 1, Naderpoor N. 1, 2, Teede H. J. 1, 2, 3, De Courten M. P. 4, 5, Scragg R. 1, De Courten B. 1, 2

1 Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Kanooka Grove, Clayton, Australia;
2 Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Unit, Monash Health, Clayton, Australia;
3 Robinson Research Institute, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia;
4 Centre for Chronic Diseases, College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia;
5 School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


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Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are the most common preventable causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Insulin resistance, which is a shared feature in these conditions, is also strongly linked to the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is the most common endocrine disease in women of reproductive age and a major cause of infertility. Vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, primarily due to the shift to sedentary, indoor lifestyles and sun avoidance behaviours to protect against skin cancer. In recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes, PCOS and CVD, and has been shown to be associated with their risk factors including obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, as well as chronic low-grade inflammation. Treating vitamin D deficiency may offer a feasible and cost-effective means of reducing cardiometabolic risk factors at a population level in order to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and CVD. However, not all intervention studies show that vitamin D supplementation alleviates these risk factors. Importantly, there is significant heterogeneity in existing studies with regards to doses and drug regimens used, populations studied (i.e. vitamin D deficient or sufficient), and the lengths of supplementation, and only few studies have directly examined the effect of vitamin D on insulin secretion and resistance with the use of clamp methods. Therefore, there is a need for well-designed large scale trials to clarify the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and CVD.

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barbora.decourten@monash.edu